Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.


The names of the four officers injured from Thursday’s officer-involved shooting were released on Friday. The shooting left one suspect and four officers injured and recovering at UNMH. One officer is currently in critical condition. A second suspect is still at large.

Details from Thursday’s shooting have been released as well. A criminal complaint was filed and stated that a man called police around 8:30am on Thursday and reported that two men had robbed him. The two men approached him near Western Skies and asked him if he wanted to buy drugs. The man declined the offer. The two men then pulled out their firearms and took his wallet, shoes, backpack and a PlayStation console which was in the backpack at the time.

Officers Mario Verbeck and James Eichel were the first officers to arrive on the scene. The man who was robbed was able to locate the two men and direct the officers to them. The police officers made contact with the two men in an alley between Juan Tabo and Muriel St. before the two suspects fled.

The officers gave chase, but the larger of the two suspects, identified as 27-year old James Ramirez, fired at the officers. Officer Verbeck was hit in his neck and upper left arm, and Officer Eichel was struck in his upper left arm. Both officers returned fire at the two fleeing suspects.

Two other officers arrived at the scene near Dutch Bros. on Juan Tabo. Officers Sean Kenny and Harry Gunderson responded to the scene and were also hit by gunfire by Ramirez. Sgt. Kenny was struck in the chest but was wearing a bulletproof vest. Officer Gunderson was struck in his face by shrapnel and glass that hit a car he took shelter behind.

Ramirez was struck and tended by officers at the scene before being transported to UNMH and is reported to be in stable condition. Ramirez has been identified as a convicted felon in California. He has been charged with three counts of aggravated battery on a police officer, assault with intent to commit a violent felony, felon in possession of a firearm and resisting/obstructing/eluding a police officer.

Officer Verbeck is currently in critical condition after injuries sustained on Thursday. The other three officers are currently in stable condition.

The second suspect, who has been described as a slender-build Hispanic male, was last seen Thursday running southbound down the alley. APD is requesting that anyone who has information or recognizing the person in these photo below contact 242-COPS.